Professional services automation (PSA) software is the secret weapon of the consultancy industry. But what is PSA software and what do you need to look for in a solution?
You know ERP…
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a well-known concept within project management. Even though the definition varies a bit depending on the source, it is an overall term for general management of essential business processes by using software and technology.
It typically contains product planning, development, manufacturing, sales and marketing in a simple platform.
A big challenge using ERP, especially for consultancies and other companies living on selling knowledge and expertise, is meanwhile that ERP is typically focused on products and may be pretty generic.
Therefore, the system is often too broad to cover this type of companies’ needs to deliver billable work on projects.
This is why PSA software increasingly secures a foothold in the project oriented companies
But what is professional services automation (PSA) software?
Features in professional services automation (PSA) software are created to strengthen the project management throughout an entire project from the signature on the first contract and all the way to the invoicing of your services to the customer.
A professional services automation solution combines
- project management
- time and expense registration
- resource planning
It streamlines and improves all the projects’ core processes and take all important factors into account, including those that are difficult to measure.
What is PSA software?
PSA stands for professional services automation. PSA is a cloud-based platform connecting the internal work processes across the company. The platform includes features like time tracking, project management, resource planning, invoicing and reporting and is typically integrated with the salary or CRM system.
PSA software is popular in industries living on selling their like, like IT consultants, bureaus, accountants, architects and consulting engineers. Often called professional services organisations (PSOs).
In this way, PSA is ideal to support the work processes in a professional services organisation, instead of trying to customise a heavy ERP system to meet the company’s needs.
Or said in a different way:
Benefits of using PSA software
1) Easier cooperation and transparency
- With PSA software, you can control and optimise the project’s working procedures and processes throughout the entire project. All departments gain access to all important information about the project plan and progress in real time. Project participants gain a bullet proof way to cooperate no matter where in the world they operate from.
- An automation platform provides more transparency compared to previous, ongoing and future project tasks. It allows more efficient and exact status reporting to your customers.
- If changes happen to the original project plan, which often occurs, everyone can be informed right away. An automation tool makes it easier to coordinate and distribute tasks, because everybody is informed and important information is not lost on the journey through the organisation.
2) Considerable cost savings
Professional services companies and consultancies daily have many time consuming manual tasks, where the risk of errors is big. These specific tasks can turn into unnecessary expenses.
When the manual tasks are automated, companies save time and money, and the team can focus on the value creating work when the manual tasks are reduced to a minimum.
The project participants’ registered hours are e.g. synchronised with the planned budget, and an info is created within a few seconds. Automated project invoicing eliminates expensive and time consuming paper work for both the project manager and the bookkeeper.
3) Higher efficiency and productivity
Automation and time tracking provide the project manager with a clear picture of where time is wasted, and you can quickly react to it.
When the employees register their time on a regular basis, they make less procrastinations, and when they track their time precisely, all billable hours actually get invoiced.
An automation tool helps you to avoid overbooking of resources or that planning of projects overlap each other.
4) Increased profitability
PSA software takes planning and decision making to a higher level. Instead of having to trust gut feelings, the leadership team gets real time data to make decisions from.
Reporting options help to identify trends, sales opportunities and risks. They provide an overview profitable customers and projects and show which projects need improvement.
Automated project invoicing keeps track of the books, secures the customers are invoiced and that you follow up on unpaid invoices. All in all, it results in an improved cash flow.
What to look for when selecting a PSA software?
Consultancies and service companies operate in a complex reality. This sometimes makes it a challenge to find a platform which fits perfectly to all of the company’s needs.
It is time consuming and expense to find workarounds, if projects or tasks do not fit into the platforms “boxes”. And when the learning curve for new business software is too steep, the company often struggles to reach the expected results.
For more than 18 years, we at TimeLog have helped consultancies implement complex business systems, and today our platform supports all work processes from contract to invoice.
This is why we know that there is no single solution fitting all companies.
If you are looking for a PSA solution, remember to take the following into consideration:
- Does the platform handle all your different agreements and contract types?
- Is the solution flexible enough to handle if you need to invoice the same customer in different ways?
- Is the solution user-friendly when you need to manage e.g. work time, the sum of expenses, travel expenses, subcontractors and invoicing?
- Can you create project plans with different task levels?
- Does the system help you to keep track of your internal management reporting and the obligations towards your customers?
- How easy is it to integrate the solution to your other systems?
- Where do you see your company in the future and would you be able to scale the solution to match your visions?
Are you ready for a PSA solution, or do you need a more detailed mapping of your needs and work processes?
Download the checklist for buying business software
Get a checklist providing you with a detailed overview of your work processes to map out your needs within:
- Project management
- Resource management
- Time tracking
- Expenses management
- The organisation’s structure